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BT is cutting 13,000 jobs and moving out of London HQ – here’s why

Mass job cuts are usually indicative of times of hardship for businesses – things are no different with BT but the proposed 13,000 layoffs are part of a wider plan.

 

British multinational telecoms company BT is planning to cut 13,000 back office and middle management jobs over the next three years – equating to about 12% of its workforce.

A third of the layoffs will affect members of its global services division, based outside the UK, in a move that will reduce costs by £1.5bn.

The company also plans to move out of its central London base to 30 smaller sites spread across the country following an 8% fall in shares during early trading this year.

This news comes after an accounting scandal that cost BT more than £500m last year, when the company admitted overstating the earnings of its Italian business for several years.

However, BT plans to hire about 6,000 news employees for network deployment and customer service, and said it would retain its full-year dividend from last year of 15.4p a share.

BT’s three-point plan

The 13,000 layoffs and 6,000 hires are part of a plan intended to deliver three key goals.

“Our strategy will deliver sustainable growth in value by focusing on delivering differentiated customer experiences, investing in integrated network leadership, and transforming BT’s operating model”, the company said this morning.

To achieve this, BT plans to pump an additional £3.7bn into its annual capital expenditure aimed at increasing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and 5G mobile infrastructure investment, and will launch a series of new converged and digital product offerings.

To cover part of these costs, the company will claw back £1.5bn by making the 13,000 redundancies and moving out of the London office, in addition to other cost reductions to “help offset near term cost and revenue pressures”.

BT, Telecomms
The BT Tower in Fitzrovia, London

What the bosses say

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: “BT is uniquely positioned to be a leader in converged connectivity and services. We are a clear market leader in terms of the scale of our customer relationships.

“We have the UK’s leading fixed and mobile access networks, a portfolio of strong and well segmented brands, and close strategic partnerships.

“We provide products and services that are essential to both consumers and businesses, delivered through multiple channels to suit their needs.

“This position of strength will enable us to build on the disciplined delivery and risk reduction of the last financial year, a period during which we delivered overall in-line with our financial and operational commitments whilst addressing many uncertainties.”

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BT says it has already reduced costs and its environmental impact by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) – which involves smart systems that help with monitoring issues and energy usage, for example – and plans to create new “high-margin” revenue streams by developing this side of the business, as well as its security proposition.

To further alter its operating model, the company also plans to switch from buying to strategic sourcing and will streamline its current 18,000-strong suppliers list.